Curaçao Map
Site Index
Contact
Random
Our Travel Books
Advertising / Press

Meals on Wheels – Curaçao’s Food Trucks

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Budget travelers to Curaçao will find no lack of cheap lunch joints in Willemstad. We’ve already written about some of our favorites in Punda, and there are plenty of others that we didn’t get a chance to try out. But as the sun goes down, these shops tend to close up. So what are the cash-strapped do for dinner? Cooking at home is a reasonable solution, but that’s no fun. The best option is to hunt down a food truck.

Food Trucks Curacao

Food trucks can be found all over Curaçao, dishing out delicious meals at cheap prices to those who have no need for niceties like silverware, plates, tables and waiters. Slop it into a styrofoam container, grab a plastic fork, hock down on the nearest curb, and fill your belly. That’s possibly not the most appealing description of a dining experience, but some of the best meals we’ve eaten on Curaçao have come through the window of a truck.

Food Trucks Curacao

If you only check out one food truck during your time on the island, make it the BBQ Express, currently found on Caracasbaaiweg. (I think this one’s location is more permanent, but other trucks seem to switch spots with casual frequency.) I ordered a serving of the ribs, which came with fries and noodle salad, and cost me about seven bucks. Despite my having ordered a “small” portion, this was a huge slab, dripping with sauce and falling off the bone — the best ribs I had during our time here. That’s no faint praise, considering that ribs are a Curaçao specialty.

The trucks are mostly a night-time phenomenon, but there’s one in Pietermaai which operates during lunch time. This white wagon also serves up local specialties like goat stew — ask what the daily special is. I had a breaded fish filet, served with the usual sides. Again, incredibly good value, but you should be prepared to wait in line!

Food Trucks Curacao

Generous portions of meat and fries aren’t the only things you can find at Curaçao’s food trucks. Often, we would pull over on the way home from the beach to pick up a refreshing drink. There are a number of trucks selling batidos: fruit shakes made with milk and sugar. Our favorite is found on the road to Soto (location), where we often stopped, and tried just about every conceivable combination. Mango-Pineapple was my favorite. No, Strawberry-Banana. No Passionfruit-Melon. The guys are super nice, and there’s a cute garden where you can sit and enjoy the drink.

You can also find trucks selling fresh coconuts. We got addicted to coconuts during our time in Sri Lanka, and were thrilled to find them on Curaçao, as well. After a day in the sun, nothing is as replenishing and refreshing as cold, pure coconut water.

Locations on our Map: BBQ Express | White Pietermaai Truck | Batido Place

Rent A Car For Curacao

Food Trucks Curacao
Food Trucks Curacao
Food Trucks Curacao
Food Trucks Curacao
Food Trucks Curacao
Food Trucks Curacao
Food Trucks Curacao
Food Trucks Curacao
Food Trucks Curacao
Food Trucks Curacao
Food Trucks Curacao
Food Trucks Curacao
Food Trucks Curacao
, , , , , , , , , , , ,
February 28, 2016 at 12:48 pm Comments (2)

A Friday Night Feast at Equus

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Located on the eastern side of Willemstad, Equus is a Curaçao institution, popular for both its mouthwatering food and chilled-out atmosphere. But it’s not for everyone. Don’t go if you’re a vegetarian. Don’t go if you had a big lunch. And definitely don’t go if it’s not Friday. However, if you’re a hungry carnivore on Friday night, head on down. You’re going to love this place.

Equus BBQ

The first thing you do when you enter Equus is find a seat. There’s a strict “no reservation” policy, and there’s no waiting list for tables. You just grab whatever table you can, find a stool if no table is open, and in the worst case scenario, stand at the bar to wait for an opening.

The second thing you do is put your order in. There is no menu, because the only thing Equus serves is skewers: beef, chicken and vegetable. Under no circumstances order more than one skewer per person; for most groups, the “golden ratio” might be two skewers for every three people. And don’t forget to grab a bucket of beer. Get comfortable and start drinking; you’re probably going to be waiting for a long time before your food arrives.

Equus BBQ

The third thing you do is to talk to the cook. He doesn’t mind, and in fact seems happy to chat with his customers. He’s mostly just turning the skewers over the grill, and isn’t too distracted to tell you about the place. I asked him about the reason that Equus only opens on Friday, and he told me that it’s an old tradition. The restaurant was actually part of a ranch, and Friday night was when all the workers would gather to feast and party after a long week.

The fourth thing you do is eat. Your food has finally arrived and, hopefully, you’ve ordered a little of everything. The beef, you know that’s going to be good, and it is… in fact, it’s incredible. But what might surprise you is that the chicken is just as delicious; succulent and richly flavored. And the veggies are better than veggies have any right to be. I had expected that our group would be fighting over the beef pieces, but it turned out that we fought over everything.

Equus isn’t the cheapest restaurant on the island, but it might be the coolest. The outdoor seating area, decorated with colorful Christmas lights, the central grill pit, the good mood of the crowd, and the ultra-friendly service all contribute to make this Friday night meal something to remember.

Location on our Map

Curacao Souvenirs

Equus BBQ
Equus BBQ
Equus BBQ
Equus BBQ
Equus BBQ
Equus BBQ
Equus BBQ
, , , , , , ,
February 27, 2016 at 4:20 pm Comments (0)

The Curaçao Liquor Factory

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

From now on, when I hear the word “Curaçao,” I’ll think primarily of soft, sandy beaches, and colorful buildings. But there was a time (not that long ago!) when the only connotation brought to mind would have been “liquor.” Blue Curaçao has long been a staple at bars around the world, and we went to the Landhuis Chobolobo to see the factory in which it was originally produced.

Curaçao liquor is made from orange peels. Oranges aren’t a native fruit to the island, but a few trees were brought over long ago from Valencia, Spain. The harsh, windy climate of Curaçao proved too brutal for the sweet little trees and after they failed as a crop, they were forgotten about. Over the course of the centuries, the oranges adapted to the terrain, toughening up and becoming known as lahara trees. The bitter fruit of lahara oranges is nearly inedible, but the peels retain the aromatic essence of their Valencian ancestors, and lend Curaçao Liquor its distinctive flavor.

Call me naive, but I had assumed that Blue Curaçao’s famous color was due to some sort of strange chemical process, and I was excited to tour the Landhuis Chobolobo and find out exactly how it was achieved. So when I learned that the liquor itself is clear, and the blue comes from regular food coloring, I was disappointed. Turns out, the “secret” behind Blue Curaçao’s color is one which has already been unlocked various times by my five-year-old nephew during his kitchen experiments.

The Chobolobo factory is still churning out Blue Curaçao, and even using their original distillation equipment, which dates from the early 19th century. The factory tour is free and self-guided, but at least they’ve bothered to make the displays interesting and well-organized. You get a quick history of the island, and learn the story of the Seniors, the Jewish family who established the business. (Fun fact: Curaçao Liquor is kosher. When they were first starting their business, the Seniors had experts brought in from overseas to certify their product.)

As you might expect, the tour ends at a bar where you can taste a variety of the Curaçao liquors, and a shop where you can buy some to take home. It makes a good souvenir, although a rather short-lived one. This sweet drink is one that goes down fast.

Location on our Map
Landhuis Chobolobo – Website
The Genuine Curaçao Liquor – Website

Framed Curacao Photos

Blue Curacao Liquor
, , , , , , , , , , , , ,
February 25, 2016 at 5:58 pm Comments (0)

The Sunday Market at Barber

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Every Sunday morning in the northern town of Barber, the market hall is converted into a food court where you can find every type of Curaçaoan specialty imaginable, from fish soup to stewed papaya, along with a wide variety of baked sweets and homemade drinks. Show up hungry, because you’ll likely want to sample a little of everything.

Barber Market

This weekly market is a popular local event, with a number of stands dishing out home-cooked meals to hungry patrons. The Marshe di Barber is right across from the town church, and I would wager that since the market is held on Sunday morning, a lot of people come here either after or before services. Probably during, too.

With so much to choose from, I had a difficult time deciding what to order. Looking at the menu of one place, I almost settled on Sopa di Mandongo. No idea what “mandongo” is, but it sounds exotic. Just to be safe, I looked it up and discovered that it’s tripe. Nothing against tripe; I’ve eaten it before, and probably will again. But not sober, and definitely not for breakfast!

We stuck to more identifiable foods, like goat stew and fried pastries filled with cheese called pastechis, and ordered tamarind juice. It was all delicious, and even better was the lively atmosphere inside the market, with old friends sitting around tables, drinking and laughing, while their kids ran around outside. These families probably meet here every week, and won’t mind if you join them. So if you wake up hungry for a hearty breakfast on Sunday morning, head to Barber.

Location on our Map

Hotels On Curacao

Barber Market
Barber Market
Barber Market
Barber Market
Barber Market
Barber Market
Barber Market
Barber Market
Barber Market
Barber Market
Barber Market
Barber Market
Barber Market
Barber Market
, , , , , ,
February 23, 2016 at 1:13 pm Comments (0)

Two Great Seafood Joints in Willemstad

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

As you might expect for an island nation, fish is a popular meal on Curaçao. And as you might expect for a Caribbean island nation, fried fish is where it’s at. I’m sure there are others, but we found two local seafood joints that we can recommend.

The Seaside Terrace is on the south side of Willemstad, down near Mambo Beach. We’d heard about the restaurant from a lot of different people, and none of them were exaggerating. This place doesn’t disappoint.

As soon as we stepped onto the terrace, we were greeted by a man who must be the restaurant’s owner. “Welcome, welcome! Glad to see you! So much fresh fish today! Lionfish! Monk fish! You’ve tried red snapper? No? You must try the red snapper! Please, sit down!” Overcome by his enthusiasm, we sat down directly where he pointed, and ordered exactly what he suggested. I’m glad we did, because the red snapper was wonderful. This fish is a specialty on the island, and is usually served whole and fried, with strong seasonings such as garlic and thyme.

We really liked the Seaside Terrace, but had an even better time during our next seafood excursion. After going diving with Scubacao, our instructor Anton had taken us to Oscar’s, a tiny shack across from the Aqualectric desalination plant in Otrobanda. On that occasion, we’d just had a beer, but he made us swear to return for lunch. “Best fish on the island.”

Before even tasting the fish, we had fallen in love with both Oscar the Restaurant, and Oscar the Man. He’s the sweetest old guy you’re ever likely to meet, and took the time to chat with us after we sat down. He was born in Antigua, but came to Curaçao as a child and has lived here ever since. He told us about his trips abroad, and how he loves the water but isn’t allowed to go diving anymore. “But they can’t stop me from snorkeling!”

This restaurant is a tip so under the radar, it’s nameless. We had been referring to it as “Oscar’s,” since we knew that to be the owner’s name, but I thought I should verify with the waitress before leaving. “Hmm… no, I guess this place doesn’t actually have a name. We all just call it Oscar’s.” At least we had been doing it right!

We were thrilled when the fish turned out to be as good as Anton had suggested. It would have been sad to enjoy everything except the food. Oscar’s not the easiest place to find (the best way to identify it is by the rocking horse which, for some cryptic reason, sits above its front entrance) but if you’re in the mood for an excellent, and extremely local dining experience, you couldn’t do better.

Locations on our Map: Seaside Terrace | Oscar’s

Note: When we asked, Oscar said they closed on Wednesdays.

Insure Your Vacation Here

google_ad_client = “ca-pub-1580149437633664”;
google_ad_slot = “1779419536”;
google_ad_width = 336;
google_ad_height = 280;

, , , , , ,
February 14, 2016 at 9:54 pm Comments (2)

Fine Dining at Fort Nassau

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Of all Curaçao’s former Dutch fortresses, our favorite was destined to be Fort Nassau. Fort Amsterdam might have the most fascinating history and Fort Beekenburg the coolest atmosphere… but Fort Nassau has the food nailed down. And food beats history or atmosphere every time.

During the 17th and 18th centuries, when the Dutch were busy extending their tendrils across the globe, a number of forts named Nassau were established to protect their new properties. You could find a Fort Nassau in the Bahamas, New York, New Jersey, Indonesia, Senegal, Ghana and Guyana, all of them named for the House of Orange-Nassau, an influential Dutch dynasty. In 1797, Curaçao got its own Fort Nassau, on the point where the Saint Anna Bay empties into the Schottegat Harbor.

Fort Nassau was taken over for a brief period by the British, but never came under serious attack, so it’s been able to remain in marvelous condition. In 1959, a restaurant was established in the old fortress, and ever since, Fort Nassau has been Curaçao’s most celebrated place to eat. For Jürgen’s birthday dinner, it was the only real choice.

Set high on a hill, the views from Fort Nassau are incredible, especially at night with the lights (and flames) of the Isla Oil Refinery off toward the north, and Punda laid out to the south. Almost anywhere you sit inside the restaurant, you’re guaranteed an excellent panoramic view.

However, you might have trouble taking your eyes off your plates, because the food in Fort Nassau is mouth-watering. The dinner menu includes an appetizer, a main course and dessert. And while it’s not cheap, neither is it overly expensive, considering the quality of the dishes and the generous portions. We both took the steak, and were left very satisfied.

If you only have time and money for one fine dining experience in Curaçao, rest assured that Fort Nassau makes a great choice. Often, these “most famous” restaurants don’t live up to the hype, but Fort Nassau was as good as we had hoped, with top-notch views, food, and service.

Location on our Map

Curacao Car Rental

La Isla Refinery Curacao
Fort Nassau Curacao
, , , , , , , , ,
February 14, 2016 at 3:33 pm Comments (0)

Sunday Happy Hour at Mambo Beach

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Mambo Beach is the exactly kind of place which Jürgen and I normally avoid. Not only is it over-developed and crowded, it’s also attached to a shopping complex. But Mambo Beach isn’t necessarily just for tourists; Curaçaoans come here in droves, especially for the Sunday evening happy hour specials.

Among seasoned travelers, there’s definitely a shared conception that off-the-beaten-path adventures are inherently better than those which are popular. But if you refuse to do anything which might be commercial or too well-known, you’re shutting yourself off to a lot of experiences. So, every once in awhile, it’s good to visit a place like Mambo Beach.

Still, we showed up to Mambo with a bad attitude, ready to indulge our mockery. And the place was begging for it. All across the island, you see billboards for Mambo featuring beautiful, blonde women laughing and carrying shopping bags. To get to the beach, you have to walk through BLVD, an outdoor mall with the hottest names brands! And the trendiest fashions! It’s all so hot and trendy, Jürgen, we have to shop, shop, shop! And then we’ll be hungry… should we go to Chain Restaurant #1 or Chain Restaurant #2? They’re both so hot and trendy, let’s just flip a coin!

Mambo Beach Curacao

But after a few minutes of walking along the beach, we started lose the sarcasm and wake up to Mambo’s charms. Many of the bars here actually did look cool. And although the beach was crowded, it wasn’t overrun, particularly on the southern end near the Hemingway Bar. The lounge chairs were spaced out wide, the water was just as blue and beautiful as anywhere else on Curaçao, and there was a nice mix of foreigners and Curaçaoan families out for the day.

“And fine, there’s shopping,” I scolded myself, suddenly embarrassed of my prior sneering. “As though I’ve never been to a mall.”

We scouted out the entire beach, before sitting down for a couple drinks at the Cabana Beach Bar, where there was an early happy hour special. Before long, we were chatting with this huge, body-building Curaçaoan guy who’d taken a seat next to us. He was a car enthusiast, and engaged us in a conversation about the East German Trabants which are still being driven around the island.

I’m not sure what that anecdote is meant to illustrate, except for the fact that Mambo Beach is a good place to meet and interact with an entertaining variety of people — weight-lifting, car-obsessed Curaçaoans, for instance. That’s especially true on Sunday, when everyone is drinking and having a good time. As the Cabana’s drink special came to a close, the one at the neighboring bar began, so we moved over.

Wet ‘n’ Wild’s Sunday Happy Hour is something of a Curaçao institution, and the single most frequent recommendation we get when asking about fun nightlife. There’s a DJ set up on the beach, generous discounts on beers and spirits, and a large crowd on hand… and it’s as enjoyable as it sounds. We had arrived at Mambo Beach with cynical attitudes, but left with happy buzzes and a rekindled appreciation for the fact that over-developed, crowded, commercial activities can also be worthwhile. Not always, but it’s possible.

Location on our Map

Beach Wear

, , , , , , , ,
February 7, 2016 at 5:17 pm Comments (0)

The Historic Neighborhood of Punda

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Punda was the first area in Willemstad to be colonized by the Dutch, and today has become famous for the superb condition of its colorful, 18th-century buildings. Although we lived in Otrobanda, we crossed the bay almost daily to spend time in Punda, to eat, shop, or just enjoy the neighborhood’s lively atmosphere.

When it was originally settled, this neighborhood was called “De Punt” (“The Point”), a name which eventually evolved into Punda. Willemstad’s most historic buildings are found here, from Fort Amseterdam and the Fortkerk to the Mikvé Emmanuel-Israel Synagogue. And this is the location of the Handelskade: the waterfront collection of multi-colored buildings that has become Curaçao’s most emblematic image.

Over the years, Punda has developed a split personality, in its attempts to please two completely different sets of people. This is ground-zero for cruise ship tourism, and when ships are in port, you’ll find thousands of foreigners roaming the streets of Punda, ordering over-priced meals along the Saint Anna Bay and raiding souvenir shops. But the neighborhood is equally popular with locals, who come here to work and socialize.

If you’re in the mood for local grub, Punda is the place to go. Plasa Bieu might be the most popular spot to try Curaçaoan fare, but there are any number of other affordable joints. We love the Kowloon Restaurant on Keukenstraat, as well as Yat Sun Snack across from the Floating Market. Don’t let the Chinese names throw you off — these restaurants are Curaçaoan through-and-through. We can also recommend the Latin flavors at Kriollomanía and Yammie Madness Chef, for their food as much as for their names. And we liked they tiny Restaurante Simone, for Indian dishes via Suriname.

Not many people reside in Punda, any longer; the neighborhood has become almost strictly for business, eating and shopping. But this always has been, and likely always will be the center of Willemstad… and thus of Curaçao. And we’ve found it impossible to spend time here, without enjoying ourselves. If you’re not smiling in Punda, you’re probably the only one.

Locations on our Map: Handelskade | Plasa Bieu | Kowloon | Yat Sun Snack | Krillomanía | Yammie Madness Chef | Restaurante Simone

Travel Insurance For Curacao

, , , , , ,
February 6, 2016 at 8:51 pm Comment (1)

Landhuis Dokterstuin and the Kas di Pal’i Maishi

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

For a contrast between how the different social classes of colonial-era Curaçao lived, visit first the thatch-roofed Kas di Pal’i Maishi, and then head over to the nearby Landhuis Dokterstuin. Set high on a hill, and today home to a popular restaurant, this 18th century mansion is as grand as its neighbor is humble.

Kas di Pali Maishi

The Kas di Pal’i Maishi is a beautifully-preserved adobe house, of the type which used to be found all across Curaçao. These “kunuku houses” were typical dwellings for the island’s inhabitants, and although they’ve mostly been replaced by modern homes, they can still occasionally be seen. There’s nothing fancy to them, but their cool white walls and open windows are perfectly designed to deal with the island’s heat.

Today, the Kas di Pal’i Maisha is a museum dedicated to the bygone way-of-life of the kunuku house, containing some tools and artifacts from the olden days. The exhibits aren’t terribly engaging, but the house itself is interesting, and it’s worth the small entrance fee to get inside it.

Perhaps the family who lived in this house worked at the nearby Landhuis Dokterstuin. This plantation house dates from the 18th century and, like most of Curaçao’s landhuizen, sits proudly atop a hill, with a view over the surrounding countryside.

We visited on a Sunday around lunchtime, and almost didn’t find a place to park. But the people streaming into the plantation house weren’t there to admire its architecture or the elegance of its interior furnishings. They were hungry. Today, the Landhuis Dokterstuin is the home of Komedor Krioyo, one of the island’s best-loved restaurants.

It took a long time for us to get a table, and even longer before our meals arrived, but the wait was worth it. The food was excellent; I had goat meat with tutu, a sweetened mix of cornmeal and black-eyed peas, while Jürgen had stewed beef. But the true highlight of Komedor Krioyo was its rollicking atmosphere. Every table in the large dining hall was occupied by another huge family, and it was the best kind of friendly, fun chaos.

Locations on our Map: Kas di Pal’i Maisha | Landhuis Dokterstuin (Komedor Krioyo)

Download our Travel Books!

Kas di Pali Maishi
Kas di Pali Maishi
Kas di Pali Maishi
Kas di Pali Maishi
Kas di Pali Maishi
Kas di Pali Maishi
Kas di Pali Maishi
Kas di Pali Maishi
Kas di Pali Maishi
Kas di Pali Maishi
Kas di Pali Maishi
Kas di Pali Maishi
Kas di Pali Maishi
, , , , , ,
January 23, 2016 at 7:40 pm Comments (0)

A Local Lunch at Plasa Bieu

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

There’s no getting around the fact: Willemstad is a cruise ship city. Nearly every day, another massive ship is in port, and thousands of visitors cram into the old town. It’s a financial windfall for many businesses, but it comes with downsides for locals and local-wannabes like us. For example, there’s an over-abundance of restaurants aimed at tourists, with kitschy decor and high prices. Luckily, other options exist, and we found a great one at Plasa Bieu.

Plasa Bieu Willemstad

Plasa Bieu, or the “Old Market,” borders the Waaigat harbor near the central post office and the Round Market. It looks like a small, rundown factory… and I suppose that’s what it is. A little factory which has been manufacturing delicious, affordable Curaçaoan cuisine for decades. From the looks of things, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that nothing has changed in fifty years; not the stands, the pots, nor the people ladling out stew or frying up fish.

Plasa Bieu Willemstad

There are half a dozen stalls in Plasa Bieu, and we would eventually be sampling them all. For our initial visit, we tried out Grasia di Dios — third, I think, from the entrance. I ordered fried grouper with mashed potatoes and salad, Jürgen got stewed beef, and we both tried a cold glass of a spicy ginger drink. While eating, we were also staring at the delicious plates others had ordered, and already talking about a return trip.

Plasa Bieu welcomes a good mix of locals and tourists for lunch. Our waiter was friendly and, like everyone on Curaçao, apparently able to speak five languages, and we quizzed him about the other plates we saw being served up. A popular dish seems to be cactus soup, and you can also ask for iguana stew. Neither of those sounded the slightest bit appetizing to us, but if you’re feeling bold, be our guest. Iguana awaits.

Location on our Map

Follow Us On Spapchat

Plasa Bieu Willemstad
Plasa Bieu Willemstad
Plasa Bieu Willemstad
Plasa Bieu Willemstad
Plasa Bieu Willemstad
Plasa Bieu Willemstad
Plasa Bieu Willemstad
Plasa Bieu Willemstad
Plasa Bieu Willemstad
Plasa Bieu Willemstad
Plasa Bieu Willemstad
Plasa Bieu Willemstad
Plasa Bieu Willemstad
Plasa Bieu Willemstad
Plasa Bieu Willemstad
Plasa Bieu Willemstad
Plasa Bieu Willemstad
Plasa Bieu Willemstad

, , , , , , , ,
December 14, 2015 at 10:17 pm Comments (0)
Meals on Wheels - Curaao's Food Trucks Budget travelers to Curaao will find no lack of cheap lunch joints in Willemstad. We've already written about some of our favorites in Punda, and there are plenty of others that we didn't get a chance to try out. But as the sun goes down, these shops tend to close up. So what are the cash-strapped do for dinner? Cooking at home is a reasonable solution, but that's no fun. The best option is to hunt down a food truck.
For 91 Days